Nara, Japan

“Today was our second day off and we traveled to the city of Nara – famous for the deer that roam among its inhabitants.First, we went to a Buddhist temple that was enormous, awe-inspiring and beautiful.We walked around the grounds first, petting the swarms of deer and taking pictures.Then we entered the temple which was full of huge Buddha statues and colorful and ornate engravings.One large column had a hole in its base – legend says if you climb through the hole, you will reach paradise.So, one by one, all the YPCers made it through the hole with the hope of reaping this reward.Last to complete the task was Fransisco J. Nunez himself, taking a good 20 minutes and ending up covered in sweat.Everyone then made their way to the gift shop to buy souvenirs, including charms promising various aids (promotion of good health, help to achieve academic success, ensuring avoidance of traffic accidents) that had been blessed by monks.

Next, we made our way to a Shinto temple, where many of us had our fortunes told. You shook a box, revealing a number that corresponded to a fortune. The fortunes ranged from “Misfortune” to “Great Good Fortune,” with details about certain aspects of your life. I received, (not to brag, because my fortune detailed that I cannot boast if I want my fate to remain unchanged) Great Good Fortune, and was ecstatic. Some people received Misfortune but were able, as was custom, to rip up their fortune and tie it to a post. So, hopefully everyone walked away with good luck.

Tomorrow we have our sixth concert (can’t believe it!!) here in Kobe—time to get back to work!”

– Miranda Langrehr/Chorister